Funeral arrangements, Swan Hill & district

When death occurs

The death of a loved one is one of life’s most stressful events and funeral arrangements can add to that stress unless handled in a competent, caring and professional manner.

Mark and Raelene O’Halloran from Swan Hill & District Funerals appreciate and understand the difficulties families endure when death occurs and the assortment of decisions and plans required. Mark and Raelene have more than 20 years’ experience as funeral directors in Swan Hill and the O’Halloran family’s experience in Swan Hill funeral services stretches back to 1958. Their caring experience helps ease the stress and confusion during what can be a traumatic time and they help with all aspects, from dates and times and venue selection through to guidance with the process for burial and cremation for funerals.

Arranging a final farewell may appear to be overwhelming but Mark and Raelene are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are always only a phone call away, ready to guide you through funeral arrangements both wanted by you and required by others.

What to do when someone dies

As simplistic as it might seem, the first important step when death occurs is to try to remain calm. When a person has died at home from natural causes, an ambulance has often been called. In a palliative care or hospital situation, families might have already received instructions on the process or what to expect.

If paramedics are the first professionals on the scene they will confirm death and arrange police presence. The process of what to do in the first 24 hours after someone has died follows.

A Doctor’s Medical Certificate of Death

Police will contact the doctor. Only a doctor can certify that death has occurred if death is from natural causes and the doctor will indicate that he or she is prepared to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Whilst waiting for the doctor, family or friends should make contact with Swan Hill & District Funerals who will be able to assist you in making funeral arrangements. When the doctor has attended or indicated he or she will sign a medical certificate of death, Mark and Raelene can take the loved one who has died into their care and to their funeral parlour.

Legal Issues

Occasionally the doctor might not able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death because of legal questions or concerns. In situations where the doctor cannot issue a certificate, the police and coroner might have to be involved. Coronial staff or government-appointed funeral directors such as Swan Hill & District Funerals will usually handle the transfer to the Coroner, usually in Bendigo or Melbourne depending on circumstances. The Coroner will carry out a physical examination and liaise with the family and advise if an autopsy may be required.

Funeral directors Mark and Raelene O’Halloran will liaise with the Coroner regarding release into their care at Swan Hill & District Funerals.

Death in a hospital

If a death has occurred in hospital a nursing staff member will normally inform you. Hospital staff will also arrange for a doctor to issue the Medical Certificate of Death. Please call Swan Hill funeral directors Mark and Raelene O’Halloran and we will contact the hospital to arrange release of the deceased.

Most likely you will need to collect the deceased’s personal belongings from the hospital. Hospital staff will need to be advised if the funeral is to be a cremation.

Death in a nursing home

When the deceased has been a resident of a nursing home it is usually the nursing home staff who liaises with the doctor. If the doctor is unable to issue a death certificate for legal reasons, the coroner might need to become involved. There are no mortuary facilities in most nursing homes  but Swan Hill & District Funerals will already have plans in place to collect the deceased from nursing homes. Often, nursing home staff members will call funeral directors on the family’s behalf and arrange transfer into Swan Hill & District Funerals’ care. From there the family will be able to liaise directly with the funeral parlour.

The Death Certificate – registering a death

Swan Hill & District Funerals will register the death following the burial or cremation. The registration must be done within seven days.

Information required for registering a death will be gathered at the time of making arrangements and requires details such as such as place of birth, marriage details, etc. As part of our Swan Hill pre-arranged funerals, you may like to be prepared for this so please download our Your Goodbye and Personal Profile documents.



What happens next?

Often families will contact Swan Hill & District Funerals directly on 03 5032 1011 as Mark and Raelene O’Halloran are available via phone at all times. Alternatively, Swan Hill & District Funerals will contact families if the families have provided instructions to that effect. Funeral arrangements can take up to an hour or even more and can be carried out at their funeral home or in the comfort of a family member’s home. Mark and Raelene will work with families, carefully listening to families’ needs and requirements, giving guidance and following through on decisions made.